Continental Offices Raided in VW Diesel Probe

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
continental offices raided in vw diesel probe

It hasn’t been what we would call a tranquil year for Continental. The German parts supplier spent the summer preparing for one of the worst financial periods in its 149-year history and apologizing for its involvement with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) by hiring an independent researcher to chronicle their forced-labor practices in detail. The dark trip down memory lane served as a strange interlude from the company’s financial concerns, which re-manifested in September when Continental announced it would have to eliminate around 13 percent of its existing staff — or about 30,000 employees.

News has broken that the supplier’s 2020 troubles didn’t end there. German prosecutors also made their rounds on September 22nd, stopping at Continental facilities in Hanover and Regensburg as part of an ongoing investigation into Volkswagen’s Dieselgate fiasco from 2015.

Germany is worried that the company may have supplied VW with engine components that could have helped the automaker’s 1.6-liter diesel hide excessive pollution during testing using illicit software (defeat devices). According to Reuters, authorities are officially trying to identify Continental’s role in the matter and if there was any collusion in regard to the plot to con emission regulators.

The parts supplier was actually being searched in July, too. Prosecutors were looking into numerous employees for potentially abetting fraud and providing false documentation on suspect components. It also launched office raids in Berlin, Frankfurt, Gifhorn, Hanover, Regensburg, Wolfsburg, and Nuremberg.

Continental used the latest raids as an opportunity to say that it’s cooperating with authorities and reminded everyone of its big financial loss it’ll be reporting next month.

[Image: arcticphotoworks/Shutterstock]

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Oct 22, 2020

    Wasn't aware that Continental were into the illegal software business. It's one thing to provide an engine computer, quite another to program it to cheat. Suplying wheel angle sensors and time and temperature sensors, is that illegal? Probably not. Logically, Bosch are the likely culprits if any supplier actually played golf with VW/Audi/Porsche engineers and colluded on the software front. They've been on the fuel injection/engine management forefront for many, many decades. Maybe the thing needed a faster CPU and more memory to accomodate the cheat than previous models, and Bosch may have asked why or kept mum after being let into the secret and added the extra 'components'/capability. Or maybe the magic NOx reducers nobody else seemed able to duplicate. Ferdinand Piech has a lot to answer for, in my opinion. Nothing happened around the VW empire unless he gave the go ahead, being the authoritarian sychophant-collecting micro-manager he was. Nor did he have much time for minor things like government or indeed anyone else at all, because he was genius number one and who were they? Nobodies. Back in the 2006 to 2009 timeframe when the diesel skulduggery was all being planned, Piech ran the place with an iron fist. Sure, he'd have some simpering internal bureaucrat as puppet head/CEO of VW, etc. They all scurried around trying to curry his favor, and it was said you either got the answer "correct" when he popped a question, or you were out. But Piech was Chairman of the Board and his family owned a ton of shares and near enough all of Porsche. So the faithful execs studied his every move and utterance to get in tune with the boss's thinking, so as to be great brown-nosers. It's how you got ahead, being more in tune with Ferdie than the others, kind of like main stream journos writing words their owners and US governmental bureaucracy agree with -- you just tune yourself into the same wavelength of the status quo, opine accordingly, get ahead, and think yourself perfectly honest. The fact you've been skewed off into a preordained direction, you forget after a few months. It's called learning on the job, ha ha. Ferdie croaked with his dozen kids from two wives and at least two mistresses left behind, I mean he couldn't care less about convention personally when he bestrode the Earth -- who was going to order him around, anyway? And he was Chairman of the Board until April 2015, just four months before the diesel bull crap OFFICIALLY hit the fan in the US. A fine time to leave them, Lucille, er Ferdie. Deep in imminent doggie do do, but him free to swan around like the unimpeachable industrial hegemon he saw himself as. All in his Wikipedia entry, beyond my own connecting-the-dots speculation. But as he's gone to the great Bayerischer Hof hotel in the sky, royal suite, the brown-nosers left behind face solid jail time. And the truth will never out. How his ghost must chortle. The fools! My opinion for what it's worth, because it makes not the slightest difference. At least the US fleeced his/VW's pockets good and proper and put Oliver Schmidt in jail for a seven year stretch. Winterkorn will never set foot in the US because charges are still pending for his arrest. What a bunch of silly tools.

    • See 2 previous
    • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Oct 25, 2020

      @multicam I gave up the hard stuff years ago but I'd likely waver should a neat glass of Bushmills Black Bush be proffered...

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 22, 2020

    We liked the TDI when we got it. 39 mpg driven hard for 73k miles, just out of Fed Emission Warranty. When the DPF broke from high temps, VW paid half "goodwill" despite a TSB knowing what went wrong. VW tried to skirt the urea injection by running the DPF hot. I guess my sustained highway running toasted it, but it is supposed to be a GERMAN car, so you should be able to do that. The car was bought back, so my hope that a clean diesel existed and could be both fast and clean was clearly wrong. When I learned it was all a scam.....

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Oct 25, 2020

      It wasn't a scam, they just didn't build a durable-enough DPF to last. That diesel ran much cleaner than diesel engines of old, just not clean enough for Europe's ever-tightening standards. It makes you wonder if they want the last, tiniest bit of pollution eliminated, no matter the cost, or if they're tightening standards to gradually eliminate personal transportation.

  • YellowDuck Thank goodness neither one had their feet up on the dash....
  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.